About the Collection
Over 22 Million Chicago and U.S. History Artifacts and Documents
The Museum's collection of over 22 million artifacts and documents is a rich source for the study of the history of Chicago as metropolitan urban center that spans five counties, as part of the state of Illinois, and as a part of the broader history of the United States.
Explore the research resources available in each of our eight main collection areas:
The Museum's collecting scope currently emphasizes five areas.
Living in the Metropolitan Area
Demographic change, family life, communities, neighborhoods, religious life, gender, sports, recreation, class, suburbs, leisure, crime, race, ethnicity, and education
Working in the Metropolitan Area
The changing economic base of the city, business, manufacturing, labor, transportation, and scientific and technological development
Governing the Metropolitan Area
Electoral politics, citizen action movements, community organizing, and urban planning
The Built Environment
Architecture in its broadest social and economic context, going beyond great buildings and architects.
Individuals and Ideas
Art, literature, music, and philosophy produced by individuals in the metropolitan area, particularly as reflections on the interpretations of this area